HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) – Finlandia was well represented on the All-ACAA (Academic All-American Collegiate Athletic Association) team. Members of the ACAA are Alfred State, Finlandia, Mills, Mount Mary, Pine Manor, Pratt, SUNY-Delhi, Thomas More and Valley Forge.
Earning first team honors were freshman Alexia Gonzales, freshman Daisia Knowles and junior Kirsten L’Esperance. Second team went to junior Molly Berg and honorable mention was freshman Addie Budzinski, senior Haley Makela and freshman Rylie Steele.
Gonzales scored 12 goals with seven assists for 31 points. She ranked among the top five in the ACAA in all three categories and had three game-winning goals.
Knowles started every game this season and was a catalyst in the back for the defensive group that conceded the least goals in program history. She led the backline and was the major reason that the program didn’t concede a goal to a NCAA D3 opponent until September 23rd (six games into the season). She had an offensive presence as well with five goals.
L’Esperance had a banner year with 23 goals, 21 assists and 67 points. She ranks among the top seven in NCAA Division III in seven categories and leads in assists per game (1.40), points per game (4.47) and total assists. L’Esperance set the single-season and career records for goals, assists and points.
Berg provided tremendous leadership and composure in the back being the only upperclassman on the backline. Very versatile player that shut down the best players on other teams.
Budzinski had three goals with seven assists for 13 points. She was critical at controlling the ball in the midfield and creating opportunities for her teammates.
Makela was 11-4-1 with 80 saves and a 1.42 G.A.A. in over 1450 minutes of action. She set single-season school records in wins, G.A.A. and shutouts (9). Makela is the all-time leader in wins, shutouts, G.A.A. and minutes played.
Steele scored five goals with three assists for 13 points with two being game winners. She was adept at pushing forward or dropping back and holding the ball until her teammates got into position.